Sudan has moved hundreds of Arab militiamen out
of Darfour in order to conceal them from foreign military observers, according to Western diplomatic sources.
Sudanese rebel sources said most of the members of the state-financed
Janjaweed militia have been removed from war-torn Darfour to other provinces
ahead of the arrival of African Union monitors.
The African Union plans to deploy 3,500 troops and monitors to end the
fighting in Darfour, Middle East Newsline reported. The proposed contingent was also said to include 800
African Union policemen.
Western diplomatic sources confirmed the SPLA assertion. Both the United
Nations and the Sudanese Verification and Monitoring Teams mission have
expressed concern over the movement of Janjaweed.
Janjaweed, an Arab tribal
force, has been accused of spearheading the regime drive against Darfour
rebels, said to have killed about 50,000 black Africans and displacing more
than 1.4 million.
"I can confirm that they are now in the Blue Nile on the Ethiopian
border," Sudanese People's Liberation Army commander John Garang told a news
conference in Cairo. "At least some 200 were taken there."
The SPLA has been negotiating a permanent settlement to end the
20-year-old civil war in southern Sudan, a conflict said to be unconnected
to Darfour. But the Khartoum regime has accused the SPLA of supporting the
Darfour rebellion, which began in early 2003.
"We also have reports that some of them [Janjaweed] were taken to
eastern Sudan as
well as in the oil areas in the south," Garang said on Sept. 30. "They are
areas other than Darfour."
UN officials have urged the Security Council to press for the
establishment of an international police presence in Darfour to monitor and
secure displaced persons camps. UN Human Rights commissioner Louise Arbour
said some of the displaced persons have recognized Janjaweed fighters as
officers in the camps.
For his part, Sudanese President Omar Bashir, an ally of Egypt, has
accused the United States of encouraging the rebellion in Darfour. Bashir
the United States equipped rebel fighters during their 18-month-old
"The United States is the one behind it," Bashir told the Egyptian
state-owned Al Ahram daily. "They drove the rebels to Eritrea, held training
camps, spent money, armed them, and gave them cell phones to communicate
between each other from one place to another around the world."